Guy Verhofstadt launches bid to become EU Parliament President

Rumours around Parliament that ALDE and S&D could reach deal to make way for a Liberal presidency.

Guy Verhofstadt | Photo credit: Natalie Hill

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

06 Jan 2017

ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt has officially announced he is in the running to become the European Parliament's next President.

The news comes after months of speculation as to whether he would join the race.

In video launching his campaign, Verhofstadt said his years as Belgium's Prime Minister - from 1999 to 2008 - had taught him that "compromise is not a dirty word. Not a necessary evil, but a way to be creative to come up with solutions for the citizens."


He noted that, "Like Belgium, Europe is a complex affair."

Rumours have been circulation the Brussels EU district that S&D group Chair Gianni Pittella could drop his bid to become Parliament chief, and instead back a Liberal presidency. A Parliament insider close to the dprocess told this website that outgoing President Martin Schulz himself supports Verhofstadt over Pittella.

But the S&D group has disputed these claims, saying there was no chance of "any under-the-table deal with other groups."

According to the so-called 'grand coalition', the S&D and EPP groups were to share the Parliament presidency, with the EPP due to to take the helm of the institution this month. However, this would mean that leadership of all the institutions - Commission, Council and Parliament - would then be in EPP hands.

The EPP group has selected former European Commissioner Antonio Tajani as its candidate.

Other candidates in the running for Parliament President are: Helga Stevens for the ECR group, Jean Lambert for the Greens, Eleonora Forenza for the GUE/NGL group and Piernicola Pedicini for the EFDD group.

Parliament's next President will be elected during this month's plenary session.

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